Before I came to Teen Challenge my life was a mess. When I was 13 I developed depression which turned into self-harming, an eating disorder, drinking and dabbling in drugs by age 14. I was struggling with severe depression but I don’t like to hurt people or upset them so I didn’t tell anyone about my struggles.
Coming from such a loving family they were constantly wanting to know what was going on. But I knew that what I was doing was unhealthy so I just continued to lie to them, which is all part of a mental health and addiction.
At 16 I was at my worse. Mum had lost all hope, she didn’t know what to do anymore. She’d been trying for years. She would come in and talk to me, wake me from my naps, make my favourite foods for me to try eat because my lies and the stories I was telling people were falling apart. People were starting to see. This is when my mum found Teen Challenge QLD and she had hope again.
Since coming into the program I still had some bad times, but now I knew how to acknowledge them, face them, fight them and fix them. I learned that I don’t have to do things alone. When I graduated it was the best day of my life. I had never completed anything and I finally finished something in my life. And it’s not just something, it’s pretty huge. I had fought to get my life back, and I mean fight. But I did it for myself and that’s the biggest thing.
My life after Teen Challenge is incredible. I no longer depend on negative ways to feel things. I am genuinely happy with who I am and where I am in the world. I have been given such incredible friendships through the program that I couldn’t have found anywhere else and it’s just incredible I have been in a job now for two and half years since finishing the program. I'm just so thankful for everything.
But the most incredible thing is that I love myself and I love my life. I know that with the tools and the strategies I was taught that I don’t have to go backwards ever. I can face issues and come out on top, stronger every time. I know that Teen Challenge saves lives. It saved mine.
*Name and image changed to protect privacy